Antonio Mabesa: National Artist for Theater

Antonio Mabesa
Antonio Mabesa | @nccaofficial

Congratulations National Artist for Theatre Antonio Mabesa!

Antonio “Tony” Mabesa, known as the Lion of the Theater, was a director, actor, and teacher who greatly contributed to the growth and diversity of Philippine theater. His theater teaching, formalism as aesthetics, and methods of production have made an impact on his students. He was a professor, artist, and mentor who will be remembered for his lessons on discipline, commitment, and respect for theater.

In the early seventies when he formed Tanghalang Repertory with various Filipino students in Hawaii, a theater group devoted solely to the production of traditional and modern Filipino plays and later on staged productions around Honolulu. Then, upon returning to the Philippines, he joined the Department of Speech Communications and Drama at the University of the Philippines Diliman, when productions were only staged occasionally. His first tasks were to come up with a regular season, thus the Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas (DUP) was born in 1976. Moreover, in 1986 he founded the UP Playwright’s Theater (UPPT), which focused on new works by Filipino playwrights and the revival of classic Filipino plays.

The conferment ceremony for the eight new National Artists will be held today, June 16, 2022, at 4:00 PM, at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang Palace.

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